One of the most interesting things about the Ethereum blockchain is the ongoing plans to migrate from the current Proof-of-Work (PoW) network to a more scalable Proof of Stake (PoS) model. The proposed plan has been in the works for a long since it dawns on the Ethereum developers that the current model cannot sustain the growth of smart contracts and DApps built on the network in the long term.
The move became more obvious when the Beacon Chain went live back in December 2020, and the network has been running smoothly since then. Ethereum 2.0 is thus on track to get its first major upgrade tagged Altair, after the brightest star in the northern constellation of Aquila. The upgrade is billed to take place around July or August and will be following a similar timeline to the PoW Ethereum network’s 11th upgrade or the London Hard Fork.
According to Coindesk, the Ethereum developers are working to let both upgrades take place at the same period, the reason? To let validators upgrade their software for both networks simultaneously. Many know about the London hard fork and its potentials to overhaul the current fee structure, however, a little is known about the Altair upgrade. Here is a keynote for validators per the scheduled upgrade.
Ethereum 2.0 Altair Upgrade: Here Is How Validators Will be Affected
When the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain was launched last year, some of the standards validators are expected to adhere to for interacting with the network were lowered to encourage participation. The Altair upgrade will seek to return the original strictness into the new Ethereum protocol.
Per the Coindesk report, as of May 18, 2021, there are as many as 141,327 active validators and 3,816 pending validators. As it currently stands, inactive validators see the value of their staked ETH slashed by 11.8%. After the Altair upgrade, this fine will be increased to 15.4% to encourage more participation.
The penalty or fines for network-threatening activities such as double signing will increase to 0.5 ETH, up from the 0.25 ETH being levied before. This higher value will seek to closely model the punishment originally designated for the Ethereum 2.0 protocol.
While the upgrade is bound to usher in strictness as defined, validators are going to benefit more from the proposed incentive boost that will be introduced. The block reward incentive will grow from 3% to 12.5% as the upgrade will also lead to a higher staking reward for the protocol as planned by the end of 2021. The final merging of both versions of Ethereum is also expected to be heralded by the Altair upgrade.
Additionally, Ethereum 2.0 will eventually introduce a new piece of software called Light Clients. These clients are designed to operate with a significantly lower requirement compared to what an average validator uses. The Light Clients will be made into a mobile application that can allow individuals to be more engaged with the network by verifying transactions right on their own phones. This will be a new frontier for the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum’s Energy Consumption Trimming
The broader cryptocurrency ecosystem is tilting towards demanding more energy-efficient blockchain networks. While Ethereum 2.0 is billed to use a significantly lower amount of energy compared to the Proof-of-Work network by 99%, pursuing energy efficiency will be a way for the Ethereum blockchain to solidify its grip as the world’s most used blockchain in the near future.